Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Round 2 / Day 2: Insanity Plyometric Cardio Circuit

Based on this morning's workout, I wouldn't be entirely surprised if I ended up hospitalized sometime during my attempt to complete Insanity.

Plyometric Cardio Circuit starts with a bang. You start with a quick series of brisk jogging in place, jumping jacks, Heisman plyo moves, then some Heisman 1-2-3s (similar to the P90X Plyo Heismans with high knees, but faster), butt kicks, high knees, and mummy kicks. The sequence is repeated three times, and Shaun T demands that you push harder and faster with each iteration. After 10 minutes of this, we get a 30-second water break. At this point, I felt pretty good, until I was reminded that this was only the warm-up.

More after the jump...

After seven or eight minutes of leg stretches, we start with the meat of the video: The actual interval training.

When this section of the workout begins, there's only twenty-something minutes left on the clock, so you may think you've got this licked. During P90X, twenty minutes was, in relative terms, nothing. Tony Horton could filibuster that time away by just babbling about imaginary soups that he's stirring up and spinning tall tales about his dad's multiple no-hitters. But Shaun T (thankfully) has no time for bullshit or bad jokes. Instead, he spends the next 20 minutes focused singularly on handing your ass to you on a plate.

He starts with Suicide Drills, which you may remember from P.E. or basketball practice. (You run to the side, touch the floor, run back to the opposite side, touch the floor, etc.) Then come Power Jacks -- essentially jumping jacks with deep squats thrown in. (In case you're wondering, I found them to be much tougher than P90X Squat Jacks.) Mountain Climbers are next, and then Ski Jumps. Only then do you get a 30-second water break. You repeat the sequence again, but faster. And then again, and faster still. The first round ends with a few additional moves: Switch Feet and Football Sprints.

At this point, I was close to spent. The intensity of the "max cardio" routine is greater than anything I experienced in the P90X cardio sessions (e.g., Plyo, Kenpo X, etc.). It's like doing wind sprints over and over again.

Next up: Another sequence of heart-exploding moves. I'm not sure if this circuit was actually meant to be more difficult than the first, but it sure felt that way -- most likely because I had little left in the tank. You're put through the paces with Basketball Jumps (very similar to the Squat Reach Jumps in P90X Plyo), Level 1 Drills (which involve dropping down into plank position, doing push ups, cranking out some plank runs, and then jumping back up -- and repeating this over and over again), Ski Abs (stay in plank position, and jump your feet together up to the left side, then back, then to the right side -- and repeat ad infinitum), and In-Out Abs (same as Ski Abs, but jump forward while keeping your hands planted in plank position). This circuit is also repeated three times, with some additional moves at the end: Jabs, Cross-Jacks, Uppercuts, and something called "Attack," which looks like a tai ch'i move on meth. Only then do you move into a series of stretches to finish the workout.

I love that there's no sugarcoating in Insanity. Shaun T works out with an army of Insanity grads (including Chris and Tania from the fit test), and while all of them are in fantastic shape, that doesn't mean every one of them can complete all the moves. As the screen flashes "Don't Stop Moving," you can see that a lot of folks have, well, stopped moving.

At one point, the camera zooms in on one trainer who's clearly struggling with In-Out Abs.

She's not happy with her performance, and shoves the camera out of her face.

And then she collapses.

I know exactly how she felt, because at that moment, I was sprawled out on the floor of my garage, curled up in a puddle of sweat.